I was doing some research for a project yesterday and came across the clipping that follows.
It is an excerpt from the March 5, 1776 issue of the Londonderry Journal, the newspaper of the time in what is now Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Several things are interesting about it.
First is the extraordinary age of the deceased. It is amazing that anyone lived that long in those times.
Second was his service record. It’s not often you find a reference to military service that includes the Battle of Boyne.
For those of you not steeped in Irish history, the 1690 Battle of Boyne was one of, if not the singular decisive moment of modern Irish history. It was when the forces of William of Orange, the Protestant, defeated the forces of James, the Catholic. It cemented England’s rule over the whole of Ireland which lasted for a further 232 years until predominantly Catholic Ireland won its independence as the Irish Free State in 1922 and the predominantly Protestant counties in the north of Ireland subsequently seceded to form what we now know as Northern Ireland.
The modern day reminder of the Battle of Boyne comes on July 12, when the Orange Order marches triumphantly through the streets celebrating the Protestant victory. Their route through Catholic neighborhoods was an annual flashpoint during “the troubles,” Ireland’s modern day insurrection designed to unite all of Ireland. That era, thankfully, has been superseded by the current peace agreements and integrated Protestant/Catholic government in Northern Ireland.
The ability of the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland to find a peaceful resolution after centuries of atrocity filled conflict gives hope for similar solutions to similar sectarian battles raging elsewhere.